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Tristram Riley-Smith

Associate Fellow, Centre for Science and Policy; Director of Research, Department of Politics & International Studies, University of Cambridge

In April 2013, Tristram Riley-Smith, was appointed External Champion to the UK Research Councils' Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS: formerly known as the Global Uncertainties Programme). This is a national role, supporting research in over 30 research institutions across the UK and in many different disciplines (including the Arts & Humanities, Engineering &Physical Sciences, Economics, Social and Behavioural Science). The partnership has covered areas as varied as terrorism, threats to critical infrastructure, ideologies &beliefs and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The current focus of PaCCS is on three themes: Conflict, Cyber-security and Transnational Organised Crime.

As the External Champion, Tristram works as a high-profile ambassador for PaCCS, seeking to enhance opportunities for impact and knowledge exchange by connecting researchers to policy-makers, decision-makers, opinion-formers and practitioners in Government, Industry and Civil Society.

Before commencing his role as External Champion, Tristram spent over 25 years working as a specialist in defence, security and infrastructure protection in Whitehall. He was posted as a Counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington DC in 2002 and in recent years he established and ran a Centre for Science, Knowledge & Innovation.

Tristram studied Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (Pembroke College). He conducted doctoral research in the Kathmandu Valley, working among the Newari artists who create images of Buddhist and Hindu gods, and post-doctoral research in Thailand. He has recently drawn on this training as a social scientist in writing his portrait of the USA in the opening decade of the 21st Century, "The Cracked Bell: America and the Afflictions of Liberty", which was published in 2010.


  • –present
    Associate Fellow, Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge